More baptism stuff….

For years, I was a proponent of what I now call “immersion as the only biblical model for baptism” a position that dovetailed nicely with another position on baptism I also once held (immersion of believers only). I held to both with a good conscience and indeed, I have friends and aquaintances that still do.

I based my understanding mainly on Romans chapter 6.4ff, where we see that by baptism we are buried with Christ. I was of course not only reading modern burial practices into this passage, but was also neglecting other passages that suggested, and so allowed, for other modes. 1 Corinthians 10 for instance, now comes to mind.

Let me start by asking a rhetorical question. In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul writes that Israel’s passing through the Red Sea was a baptism. Now I must admit it is hard to see how Paul could be using “baptism” in the same way he uses it in Romans 6, for after all how can walking between walls of water be the same as being drenched by or in them? I used to think he was speaking in figurative terms. I used to think that the immediate context demanded it. That is until my attention was directed to Psalm 77.16-20, a passage that shines a bit of light on what he has in mind for according to the Psalmist Israel’s passage through the sea was indeed accompanied by an outpouring of water, but from above (77.17). Israel’s baptism was by pouring, for they were all (adults and children) under the cloud when they passed through the sea (1 Cor.10.1). All got drenched, and all were baptized.

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